As a key step in advancing racial justice, UM has established the Anti-Racism Task Force. Built on more than a decade of work, the Task Force will exert an active and conscious effort toward eliminating all aspects of overt and systemic racism at UM through community engagement and the development of a comprehensive Anti-Racism Strategy.
Anti-Racism Task Force members
The Anti-Racism Task Force includes diverse members from across the university who have been active in advancing racial justice and decolonization throughout the university through their leadership, experience, subject matter expertise and community involvement.
- Co-chair: Naomi Andrew, Vice-President (Administration)
- Co-chair: Catherine Cook, Vice-President (Indigenous)
- Marcia Anderson, Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health, Social Justice and Anti-Racism, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
- Tee-Tee Appah, Student, University of Manitoba Black Students’ Union
- Duane Brothers, UM Alumni and Board of Governors member
- Tina Chen, Executive Lead (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)
- Delia Douglas, Anti-Racism Practice Lead, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
- Reem Elmahi, Student, University of Manitoba Black Students’ Union
- Amanda Fowler Woods, Graduate Student, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
- Leona Huntinghawk, Lecturer, Faculty of Social Work
- Janesca Kydd, General Counsel, Office of Legal Counsel
- Nusraat Masood, Director of IEEQ, Price Faculty of Engineering
- Cary Miller, Associate Vice President Indigenous: Curriculum, Scholarship, and Research
- Raven Morrisseau, Student, Indigenous Students’ Association
- René Ouellette, Associate Vice-President (Human Resources)
- Jitendra Paliwal, Associate Dean (Academic) and (Graduate Programs), Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
- Aakash Pawar, Student, Faculty of Law
- Lalitha Raman-Wilms, Dean, College of Pharmacy, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
- Shyanti Saha Arpa, Student, Asper School of Business
- Valerie Williams, Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
- Michael Yellow Bird, Dean, Faculty of Social Work
Interim Recommendations to Address Racism
This Interim Report reflects the progress of the Anti-Racism Task Force during the first six months of their one-year mandate. It presents recommendations for immediate action based on the lived experiences of the Task-Force members and on the significant work already done by community members, stakeholder groups and key offices within the university.
These are foundational recommendations, focusing on education, policies and processes. They are not expected to result in an immediate change in behaviour, but to lay the groundwork for the process of dismantling racism in all its forms throughout the UM community.
- The Task Force recommends that the University of Manitoba define measurable targets, develop clear accountability structures and provide dedicated resources to lead the implementation of these and future recommendations in a manner that supports transparency and accountability and ensures that intersectionality is considered.
- The Task Force recommends that University of Manitoba establish an overarching anti-racism policy.
- The Task Force recommends that all University of Manitoba Board of Governors and Senate approved policies and procedures be reviewed via Racial Equity Impact Assessments (REIA) with an intersectional lens.
- The Task Force recommends that the University of Manitoba educate decision makers to inform the appropriate application of an anti-racism lens to internal decisions and processes.
- The Task Force recommends that the University of Manitoba adopt and provide common terminology to engage in anti-racism work at the University of Manitoba, and that this terminology be reviewed regularly to reflect community recommendations on evolving language in anti-racism work.
- The Task Force recommends that the University of Manitoba develop and implement a communication plan, beginning with a website dedicated to educating the university community and promoting the elimination of racism.
- The Task Force recommends that the University of Manitoba establish a process to collect and distribute demographic data to identify and close diversity gaps.
Systemic racism exists in relationship with other manifestations, and consequently systemic change necessarily involves change among people as well. Key themes have been identified by the Task Force as the basis for community engagement, planned to begin in March 2023. Please check back for more information on upcoming opportunities for community members to provide input and feedback.
How you can contribute to the conversation
What does an anti-racism strategy look like to you? What should be included? By sharing your thoughts and ideas related to anti-racism at UM, you can support the Anti-Racism Task Force and their goals.
Check back for new questions and opportunities to share your input.
Quotes from the community What does anti-racism mean to you?
Quotes from the community What does an anti-racism policy look like?
The system of oppression that disadvantages people with disabilities and advantages people who do not currently have disabilities. Like other forms of oppression, it functions on individual, institutional and cultural levels. Ableism is not solely about the experiences of people with disabilities as targets of discrimination, but rather about the interaction of institutional structures, cultural norms, and individual beliefs and behaviors that together function to maintain the status quo and exclude people with disabilities from many areas of society.
Anti-racism is the active process of acting to challenge not only one’s own biases and prejudices, but involves actively engaging in the work of dismantling racism as a system of oppression and dismantling the policies/social relations/attitudes/practices that promote and/or sustain racial inequality.
Colonialism is the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country to exploit it economically and/or occupy it with settlers.
Decolonization is the withdrawal of state control of a former colony that leaves the territory to be self-governed and independent and also a process through which colonial power and the privileges it has created are dismantled through reviewing policies, procedures and laws to remove inequities between the colonizer and the colonized. Decolonization requires colonizers recognize and accept the impact of historical and current colonial policies on the colonized and to choose to restore equity.
Deficit ideology an intellectual explanation and political rationale that characterizes the racialized other or colonized individual as being "lesser than". This logic then underpins arguments for why colonization is justified and acceptable.
Diversity refers to all the ways that people differ, including characteristics, personal experiences, values and worldviews
Equity is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for all students, faculty and staff, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of marginalized groups.
Every day racism
Everyday racism is a concept conceived by sociologist Philomena Essed which refers to the "mundane" elements of everyday life that are typically not recognized because these manifestations of racism have become so normalized that they are typically not identified as racism.
Everyday racism refers to tone, language, a gaze, forms of surveillance (in public spaces stores), differential treatment/service (being ignored in a store, denying the reality of a BIPOC person, or the expectation that one can speak for all members of a racialized group) and actions such as moving when an Indigenous, Black or racialized student is seated beside a person on the bus or in the classroom.
Everyday racism is multidimensional and its impact is cumulative.
Historical trauma is the cumulative emotional harm to an individual, generation or multiple generations caused by a traumatic experience or event.
Inclusion is the process of creating an environment in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued to fully participate in all the opportunities afforded by the university.
On Turtle Island (Canada), Indigenous refers to people who identify as First Nations, Métis or Inuit. Indigenous is used instead of Aboriginal for three reasons. First, Indigenous is internationally recognize within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Second, and more importantly, "Aboriginal", like "Indian" is considered an external colonized creation and has been officially denounced by the Association of Manitoba Chiefs in 2014.
Third, Indigenous comes from the Latin world "indigena", which means "sprung from the land." As such, Indigenous not only recognizes territory and land claims, but it connects Indigenous people to their land.
Intersectionality is a term associated with critical legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw refers to the ways that racism, racial discrimination, harassment and vilification are frequently linked/shaped/informed by other elements such as sex, gender, class, (dis)ability and sexuality.
Intersectionality disrupts either/or frameworks by offering a lens to represent how different forms of inequality work together and aggravate each other by describing how the various elements of our identities result in some people experiencing multiple oppressions and inequalities simultaneously.
Microaggression are everyday slights, insults, actions, verbal and non-verbal cues that message to target marginalized groups that they are not fully valued or trusted, do not belong, or are unwelcome. Microaggressions can be unintentional; but impact must be considered over intent.
People experience microaggressions differently based on intersectional identities and power relations between individuals, within institutions, and in society. Microaggressions have a cumulative impact on individuals.
Race is one of the fundamental components of descriptive systems of difference in society (e.g., along with sex-gender, class, ability, and sexuality).
At its inception, race was defined as a natural or biological difference, indicated by physical features such as skin colour, hair texture and other bodily features. The creation of race as a key system of classification was created during European imperial and colonial domination to justify hierarchies of humanity.
Despite efforts to locate differences between different groups as evidence of biological and/or genetic differences as unsound, science demonstrates that the differences within different groups are greater than the differences between the so called races. However, there remains a significant investment in identifying racial differences as natural and inevitable, as evidence of intelligence, ability, worth, and so on. Rather, scholars and researchers recognize that race is a socio-historical and social construct.
Racial discrimination refers to behaviour that impedes and disadvantages people, by withholding benefits, opportunities due to their perceived race, colour, nationality, ethnicity, ethno-religious or national origin.
Racial equity is a process of eliminating racial disparities and improving outcomes for everyone. It is the intentional and continual practice of changing policies, practices, systems, and structures by prioritizing measurable change in the lives of people of color (Raceforward.org)
"Race" refers to the invention of different subspecies of people based on physical and cultural characteristics such as skin colour, accent or manner of speech, name, clothing, diet, beliefs and practices, places of origin, etc. Racialization, then is "the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal in ways that matter to economic, political and social life" (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2005, p. 11). Recognizing race is a social construct, racialized identities now replaces inaccurate and outdated terms such as "racial minority", "visible minority" or "non-White".
Racism is the differential treatment of various human racial groups by a dominant racial group rooted in the belief of the superiority of one group over the other. Racism takes many forms, some of which include symbolic, embodied, psychological, institutional/systemic, everyday and interpersonal.
Racism is a deeply embedded historical system of institutional power that continues to operate regardless of the intentions of current actors unless intentionally interrupted.
Racism differs from individual racial prejudice and racial discrimination in the historical accumulation and ongoing use of institutional power and authority to support prejudice and to systemically enforce discriminatory behaviors with far reaching effects.
Racialized peoples are denied access to social, economic, and political systems that regulate, define and control all aspects of their lives.
Systemic/institutional racism refers to the arrangements and practices that maintain racial hierarchies and racial inequality.
It includes policies, behaviours and practices that are part of the social, cultural or administrative elements of an organization and which produce or maintain positions of disadvantage for racialized individuals.
White/settler fragility is the emotional discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white/settler person when confronted by information about privilege, racial inequality and/or colonial injustice.
For additional terms and a more developed glossary, please see:
Supports for those experiencing racism
Implementing the Indigenous Senior Leadership Report
A university-wide effort to create a culturally safe work and learning environment for Indigenous students, staff, faculty and guests; advance reconciliation; fight anti-Indigenous racism; and foster relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities is under way. Visit the Indigenous Senior Leadership Report to learn more about what steps are being taken and how to get involved.
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences’ Disrupting all forms of racism policy
In 2020, the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences’ Faculty Executive Council approved the Disruption of all forms of racism policy, the first anti-racism policy to be passed by any faculty or post-secondary institution in Canada. Learn more about the policy that constitutes a formal recognition of racial harassment, discrimination, vilification, and racism.